Transcript: How Iboga Is More Than Just A Treatment Of Addiction – Elizabeth Bast
Please enjoy this transcript of our interview with Elizabeth Bast.
Iboga is arguably the most challenging – and powerful – psychedelic on the planet.
Its rapid growth in popularity as an anti-addiction treatment has dominated its reputation in Western culture, but as our guest – author and plant medicine facilitator Elizabeth Bast – explains in this interview; the conversation around iboga is much more nuanced than just the treatment of opioid addiction.
Elizabeth has worked extensively with iboga, not only for personal healing and psycho-spiritual growth but also as a service provider and a self-aware participant in culturally relevant debates. As such, she offers an informed perspective on nearly every topic surrounding iboga and its use.
Paul and Elizabeth also delve into a fascinating discussion on the current state of the psychedelic movement, including their personal reactions to criticisms of leaders in the space. They examine how we can culturally integrate of these medicines and use their teachings to guide us as we strive to make them available to as many people as possible.
In a society where more and more people are seeking a healing power that is often incomprehensible in its scope and depth, we can’t overlook Elizabeth’s valuable insights on the democratization of iboga as well as the safest, most effective ways to engage with this powerful teacher.
In this episode we talk about:
- How iboga helped Elizabeth and her partner overcome their own trauma and addiction
- The right way to prepare for an iboga experience and verify the legitimacy of your provider (including the type of medical staff that needs to be on site)
- Key integration methods to take advantage of the “golden window,” beyond just working with a coach or therapist
- Microdosing with ibogaine, including traditional uses as well as what it looks like in a modern context
0:00:28 Paul Austin: Hey listeners and welcome back to The Third Wave Podcast. Per usual, I’m your host, Paul Austin ready to bring you another great episode, this one with Elizabeth Bast who is a writer, poet, yoga and tantra teacher, Holistic Lifestyle mentor, visual and performance artist. She studied at the new College of San Francisco with an emphasis on art and social change, and her greater intention is to help facilitate 100% natural bliss and promote synergy between culture and nature. Now Elizabeth is the author of Heart Medicine, a true love story which is an intimate memoir about a healing experience with the African sacred medicine, Iboga. And that’s really what we focus much of our conversation on today is Iboga, and Ibogaine and what role that plays as a plant medicine to heal both individuals and the collective as a whole.
0:01:28 PA: Now, before I go any further, I just wanna ask a couple of things: One, if you do enjoy the show, please leave a review on iTunes, it takes about five seconds to do. If you wanna write out a little something as well, that might take a little bit longer but that would go a long ways in helping this message to continue to evolve and spread.
0:01:46 PA: The other thing is if you support this show, if you want it to continue to grow, we ask that you support us on Patreon, patreon.com/thethirdwave. We’re in the process of finalizing as a 501 [c]  non-profit, which is really exciting. And so our Patreon page is just another avenue for us to continue to generate funds and revenue to amplify our mission of changing the cultural conversation around psychedelics. Now, I had… This was one of the deeper talks that I had on this podcast and I really resonated and connected with Elizabeth and she was just so easy to talk to about these topics, and so I really think that you will enjoy, this heart-focused recording. We dip into a lot of detail on Iboga and Ibogaine because we haven’t talked a lot about it on the podcast before. So that’s really gonna be the overarching takeaway, but there’s a lot of little nuggets in there as well, about some stuff that’s going on in the psychedelic community currently, about becoming and stepping into our own power and strength and a number of other topics. So without further ado, I bring you Elizabeth Bast.
0:03:12 PA: We’ll continue from where we left off. So right before we went on air, Elizabeth and I were connecting about a recent book that she published. And Elizabeth, it’d great if you could just start off in introducing yourself and telling our listeners just a little bit about your work and what brought you to this medicine and then I’d love to see where our conversation leads from there.
0:03:38 Elizabeth Bast: Certainly. Thank you so much, Paul. So several years ago, I wrote a book called Heart Medicine: A True Love Story – One Couple’s Quest For The Sacred Iboga Medicine & The Cure For Addiction. And this is really about what brought us to the Iboga medicine. My love of about six years at that point had a heroin relapse. And he had been really militantly sober when I first met him, this is… He goes by Chor Boogie, he is a visionary, fine artist and street artist. And so, I watched him change, I watched his art change a lot over these years and it started with the reintroduction of alcohol, which for him was never good. And then different kinds of recreational drugs away, occasionally and then finally injecting heroin again and I was so terrified. I saw him in a very bad way, and was concerned for his life. And I had been aware of medicine work, I’ve experienced some ayahuasca ceremonies once or twice a year for several years and different kinds of Native American ceremony.
0:05:09 EB: I grew up in ceremony, not medicine, plant medicine, but sweat lodge, long dance, pipe ceremony was a part of my youth. So I was familiar with ceremony and in a moment, I was out in nature and after he had confessed to me and the Iboga medicine came very strongly into my awareness, in that moment. I couldn’t remember how I’d first heard about it, it was so vague, the details, it was barely there, but I was aware it was good for addiction, so I ran home and did research. At first Chor was terrified and very resistant and we researched it for a while. And it was very difficult because there’s a lot of misinformation about this medicine online. There’s a lot of dangerous misinformation. And so, it was quite a process to find good information and a provider that was right for us. And he came around, I would say by the skin of his teeth, he came around. And I… Along that journey of researching, I learnt it was good for PTSD.
0:06:27 EB: Which was something I had struggled with for a long time, and I decided to go with him and experience the medicine for my own reasons, and what the medicine gave us as a couple, the book is a love story that… Medicine gave us way more than we bargained for. It really detoxified our relationship. It forced us to confront places where we were dishonest and withholding and poisoning our own relationship without even knowing it. Resentments, all of it. It all just came out, it asked us to change our whole lives, which was terrifying and it ended up giving us something much better when we really opened to that commitment to be guided by spirit, prayer and medicine. And this is almost five years later and Chor is thriving. He came to the medicine in a good way, which we learned is really important.
0:07:27 EB: To come with respect, to prepare and participate and integrate. It’s really key for both of us and we can talk more about that. To introduce myself, briefly, now I serve as a preparation and integration coach for different kinds of transformative experiences, and especially medicine, in Iboga and Ibogaine. And I also write a lot of articles, help people to learn about the medicine and healthy living. And I also helped Chor with his art career, and occasionally, I get to do some performance art and healing arts for women. So that’s what I do.
0:08:11 PA: Beautiful, and one thing that I wanna just make sure that we address directly before we really get even deeper into your story and the transformation through Ibogaine, I’d love if you could just explain to our listeners a little bit about what is Ibogaine and what is Iboga? And what are the differences between the two? Because I know from what I understand, they have slightly different effects or they’re slightly different substances but I don’t have a lot of context on that.
0:08:42 EB: Sure, I’d love to share on that. So, Iboga is a plant medicine that comes out of Central West Africa and has been used for a very long time Babongo people, who are known by some as the Pygmies and then they shared it with the Bwiti people. There are different lineages of Bwiti and that’s where we learned some… Connected with the medicine from the Mitsogo Bwiti tradition and it’s a root bark. So the psychoactive part of the plant is the inner layer of the root bark. And there’s many alkaloids in Iboga. It can be used as root bark, which is generally not strong enough for a detox unless people are taking massive amounts of it. And then there’s the total alkaloid extract, which is all of the naturally occurring alkaloids that can work together. It can also be taken as a tea or fresh shavings. And the Ibogaine is one alkaloid from the Iboga plant that is produced semi-synthetically in a laboratory and is dosed differently.
0:10:00 EB: It’s dosed by body weight often, and Ibogaine is more used in a clinical medical therapeutic context, generally speaking. And the Iboga is dosed by very careful observation of physiological, spiritual, psychological effects by experienced providers, and it is more often used in traditional ceremonies. I don’t wanna say these are across the board. I’ve heard of people using Iboga in neo-shamanic contexts, which I’m very careful with mentioning those. It’s important for people to be very careful. But in all of those situations, medical and traditional, it’s so, so important to really know this medicine. This is one of the most powerful and medically volatile medicines. People need proper medical screening, proper medical support throughout. So that’s some of the differences.
0:11:08 PA: And so one more question to dig a little deeper, one metaphor, one similarity that’s coming up for me when we think of that relationship between Iboga and Ibogaine is Ayahuasca and DMT. And from what I understand, the similarity in effect between Iboga and Ibogaine is much closer than for example, the similarity in effect between Ayahuasca and DMT. So in other words, DMT, when you smoke DMT, it has a significantly different effect. You go into this kinda hyper-spatial travel. Aliens are quite prevalent from what I’ve heard. It’s a very odd space. Whereas at Ayahuasca, it tends to be more snakes and visions and obviously purging. So I guess what I’m trying to clarify is, is Iboga very similar in effect to Ibogaine? Are people basically experiencing very similar things?
0:12:15 EB: Good things. No. I’ve never done Ibogaine personally, but I do know several people who have done both. Both the Ibogaine, and the total alkaloid extract, which is the most powerful version of the Iboga plant medicine. And they tell me, and these are very experienced travelers I would say, I trust their perspective. They tell me that the Iboga, total alkaloid is much, much more powerful, much deeper. That said, I also feel strongly that the Ibogaine has a very important place in the realm of medical detox and sometimes very challenging or tricky detoxes. So there’s definitely a place for Ibogaine, and sometimes it’ll come from the Tabernanthe Iboga, which comes from Africa, and then there’s another plant that has a source of it, Voacanga africana, or Voacanga africana. And that is a more sustainable source that’s good to look at for medical detox. So yes, they’re very different and Ibogaine still has its place. That’s very useful.
0:13:32 EB: Great. And that for me helps to fill in some of the holes around, you know, and on the show, the podcast specifically, we talk a lot about Psilocybin and LSD, MDMA. We’ve had quite a few people on about Ayahuasca, but we were talking about this earlier when we were having a little intro call or familiarity, particularly mine but also from what I understand, our audiences familiarity with some of the more traditional plant medicines is not as clear. So having that knowledge, that understanding of what role Iboga and Ibogaine can play because most people they’ve heard of Ibogaine simply know that it has been used to treat heroin addiction.
0:14:14 EB: Mm-hmm.
0:14:15 PA: Or opioid addiction, but there’s clearly more context in that. In other words, there’s a more holistic nature of Ibogaine where, yes, it can help with that, but also there’s all these other stories that it’s inter-weaved into.
0:14:29 EB: Indeed, and people I… Sometimes I hear people say things like, “Oh I am not an addict so that medicine’s not for me”. And we have to remember that that wasn’t the original purpose of this medicine at all. This is very likely one of the earliest psychoactive medicines that human beings worked with evolving out of the belly of Africa and was used for psycho-spiritual journeys, spiritual initiation. It’s also used for divination, and diagnosis and prescription of different, finding the right, other medicines that people need to heal. It’s also used by hunters. They take micro doses and go out in the jungle and it helps the vision and the endurance and stimulant, gentle stimulant to the central nervous system, so it really helps with a strong long day of hunting, and connecting to the ecosystem, and I think it helps us as human beings to be the hunter in our own life, to stay focused, to be clear, to be rooted, strong.
0:15:42 EB: It’s a very rooting, grounding medicine. It’s unique in that way. And there’s this story going around in some literature that they only use Iboga once for initiation and never use it, again, that’s totally not true. The elders, that we know take it in micro-doses almost every day four or five in the morning and take it often in communal ceremonies, welcome ceremonies of different kinds. It’s used all the time, just not in initiatory doses or flood doses. It’s a very, very rich, multifaceted medicine. So, if it calls to people it has many more functions than addiction recovery that’s just one, one little adornment that it has of many.
0:16:30 PA: And one that is obviously in a time of cultural crisis, you could say, particularly on the opioid crisis, is especially relevant, which I think is why, for example, I’m most interested in Ibogaine as a substance or medicine or tool because it seemingly can not only help with breaking the physical addiction, but from what I understand more the psycho-spiritual elements of which most addiction is rooted in.
0:16:58 EB: Basse that’s what we would say in the Bwiti, which means truth, I agree, word, absolutely. I got chills when you said that, that this medicine is very intelligent and it is on the move, and it’s very interesting when sometimes I hear people from these developed nations say that, “Oh, we should never do the medicine outside of its context and it’s neo-colonialism, if we ever take these medicines”. Like there’s different view points on this, and my question to them is, “Have you asked the indigenous people”? Because the indigenous people that I know say, “This medicine wants to be on the move, it wants to travel, they want to travel, they want to help heal and this medicine is moving at this time for a reason”. And I sense it’s a plant that was always used for prophecy, and I sense this plant knew human beings very intimately and saw where they were going. And that’s just me, that’s just the deep impressions I’ve received working with this medicine.
0:18:07 PA: And you hear similar things from the people who are public figures, are outspoken about Ayahuasca. Dennis McKenna, has said like, you know, when he has these experiences with Ayahuasca that the medicine says something to him like, “Oh you think you monkeys are running the show”, like it’s really… Really adds to…
0:18:26 EB: I love that. I love that quote. I’m fascinated by plant intelligence, fascinated by how we’re just beginning to scratch the surface. Like for example, Michael Pollan’s book, “The Botany of Desire” is when I really leapt on that subject. Yes, the medicines, all these master medicines are on the move rapidly coming into our awareness. Michael Pollan’s new book has been on the New York Times best seller list for many, many weeks now. This is no coincidence. Before we move forward, I wanted to add all that’s said about the medicine is on the move, I say that very carefully, because we also need to be very aware of sustainability issues and social impact of things like money, fame… [chuckle] These things that start coming into the mix, cross-cultural communication, cultural differences, we need to be aware of.
0:19:28 EB: So I say that very carefully, that we need to move forward very responsibly, very respectfully and yes we need to defer to the wisdom of many of these indigenous healing traditions while we also offer what we can, a lot of the indigenous people that I know really want things, benefits from the West. They want clean running water, and dental work, and they want things that we have to give, too. And there’s I feel like a very fertile meeting between the indigenous people, the scientists, researchers, all coming together and really sharing information. There’s so much to be gained from that.
0:20:19 PA: I’d love to hear a little bit more about you and Chor, you went to Gabon? And where were you at before… You said you had had a few Ayahuasca retreats or experiences. I’d love to hear though about what was your transformation like in that time period either with the experience itself or just generally surrounding it, that really kinda paved a different path or a new path forward for you and Chor?
0:20:55 EB: Sure. Yes, we have been to Africa now three times for long stays, and intend to go back in the summer of 2019 for deeper apprenticeship. We’ve been training as providers out there with elders, and also training with established season providers who are working in Costa Rica and Canada, really amazing providers. And so our first experience was in Costa Rica with a traditional provider who has since gone back to Africa and then yeah, we immersed ourselves in the culture. We went through the right of passage, which is quite amazing, powerful test of all that one is as a human being. And we were married out there, my partner and I, six months after our first experience, and went through initiation and started to learn some of these more intricate technologies with the medicine like diagnosis, prescription, getting answers, spiritual discovery. So it’s been beautiful and the medicine gave me a lot. I just wanna say that the medicine and no medicine is a magic pill that you take and turns you into a happy robot and solves all your problems. The medicine is an opportunity. It’s such a profound, precious opportunity that we can come to with great respect and this medicine in particular, demands so much respect and very serious intentions… Very, very strong intentions. That’s how it helps us. The medicine doesn’t make anyone enlightened. It just helps us with issues that we sincerely ask for help for.
0:22:54 EB: So Chor and I were really in for it. At the end of that ceremony, I say the end of the ceremony is just the beginning… Of a lot of work. [chuckle] So since then, we had all our crutches stripped away from us, all the self-medicating, all of the dishonesty and avoidance, and we integrated. I wrote a 400-page book, he created beautiful paintings, just these visual transmissions of the medicine… Many, many paintings that communicate that spirit, and the spirit of the Bwiti tradition inspired by that. They love them. They love what he’s doing, from his contemporary perspective and skillset. They love to get his images when we take him out to Africa. So he made paintings. We talk a lot, we share our experience, which has been integration, we serve other people helping them to get to the medicine in a good way and really immersed ourselves into the global community of psychedelic medicine. That’s been profound in working on our communication skills and really attending to our own relationship in a religious kind of way. And I say that carefully, religion has a lot of connotations, but I’ll say devoted… Like a really devoted way, looking at ourselves every day. So that’s where we’re at.
0:24:17 PA: Yeah, and that’s what a lot of people like to call the work, and that’s what I think many of us who have had… It’s funny, you kinda laughed when you were like… Which I was right on board with you. And it was kind of like, “We didn’t really realize what we were getting ourselves into and some way laughed. But this was my thing. When I first came to psychedelics, it was like their… My background is quite vanilla, I would say. So coming to psychedelics was immediately very eye-opening in many ways. But for much of my life up to that point, I had felt some sort of deep discomfort or some sort of deep just not jiving with things. I couldn’t find my flow, so to say. And then after doing that, I had a change of perspective and for that reason, a change of heart. And being able to go through that process with something like LSD, was the one that I first worked with, it was quite profound. And had I known what I know now about what I got myself into, and I say that in both a very positive way, but also a very… The process of Ken Wilber. I like the way that Ken Wilber puts it. He says, “Waking up and growing up.”
0:25:43 PA: That process is often… It’s sometimes more than we bargained for in a way, and can become overwhelming and at times it’s very… Like I was saying before, we didn’t really know what we got ourselves into, but…
0:26:02 EB: [chuckle] Yeah.
0:26:03 PA: We couldn’t have lived any other way in some way and searching for those answers and that truth and having that curiosity. And that’s what I hear from you when you say that coming to the medicine with intention is really important and really acting with the reverence, because it does take that process of self-reflection, I think, in some ways to actually enter some sort of space where you’re ready to work with these substances that can be profound and transformative. And that is what I see a lot of our work in the psychedelic community focused on. It’s like, how can we be a little bit more and like we’re saying before, be connected rather than kind of being stuck in this dopamine driven very do-oriented on life daily.
0:26:50 EB: I love that, do-oriented.
0:26:52 PA: Yeah. Yeah, that’s why we’re like engineer, I don’t know, mine at work. Do-oriented, and that’s what it really feels like.
0:27:01 EB: And doing is important, but just as equally as being. And they can be simultaneous. The medicine has taught me so much about the art of being, the art of being present, the art, especially the medicine. The Iboga medicine, more than any other medicine I’ve experienced so far, has helped me with the art of thinking and understanding the real power of our thoughts, and the impact that each thought has, especially when they’re repetitive thoughts that we revisit all day long. Things like resentments or obsessions, fixations, these kinds of things. I remember my first Iboga journey, and by the way, I’m grateful to all the plant medicines. They’ve all helped me with special things, and I even understand that LSD, even though that’s not my medicine, it has been very helpful to many people as a medicine when used with respect and care.
0:28:14 EB: So I remember the first Iboga journey that I had. The first one is often cleaning you out. And it was so, so rigorous, I almost didn’t wanna do it again, ever. After that first day, it was such a challenging journey, it was like being in the bardo in a hurricane of thoughts as it was excavating in my whole psyche. I call it the mind purge, where there’s just thousands of thoughts going at the speed of light past you and sometimes, terrifying ones, saw the fears and attachments. And I was purging more than I ever have with any other medicine, personally, and sweating, and just intense, intense detox. And I felt myself purging the biochemical toxins that were lodged in my tissues from all of these repetitive resentments. Every time we think those thoughts, it’s cortisol, adrenaline, very, very degenerative things. And it’s like with every thought, we’re producing biochemical poison or biochemical medicine. I wonder if this affects the chemical imbalance approach that people have around some psychiatric states. When we’re repeatedly doing that, the medicine really helped me to direct my thoughts where they would be most useful and most enjoyable. So that was one of the most profound blessings I had from that medicine.
0:29:48 PA: And these profound blessings comes to loop back to something that you’ve been emphasizing, are about… I think that they’re rooted in the preparation and the intention, that we come to these plant medicines.
0:30:03 EB: Yes.
0:30:04 PA: And that’s not a rule. There are plenty of times that I’ve heard people go like, “Oh, I had all this preparation and was cultivating this attention around X, Y, and Z. And then, actually, I haven’t really thought about this for… ” And this has been in psilocybin, in particular. Someone was like, “I’m gonna think deeply about my relationship with my dad,” and then he was like, “Fuck! The whole time, I was just thinking about business.” [chuckle] And I think like that’s weird.
0:30:29 EB: This is an important point! This is an important point because… You touched on this, thank you. So yes, we come with strong intentions of whatever, but also, intentions are very different from expectations. Expectations are rigid. Intentions can go with the flow. If your boat goes, gets… If the medicine wants to take your boat on a different course, intentions allow you to really be an apprentice to the medicine if you come with that kind of apprentice approach. If the medicine is giving you something else, you can go with it. So there’s that difference, and that’s a lot of the work that I do with people in coaching is differentiating between intention and expectation. Sometimes, if we have hard expectations, it can make the journey very difficult. When people come to these medicines, there’s the powerful question am I willing to be open to trusting this medicine. ‘Cause if we go in there with our own will, it’s very challenging. Imagine going to see a master teacher, and every time they start talking to you to share their gifts with you, you start telling them what you think. [chuckle] It’s like, we have to be willing to at least listen and open and set down our will, ego and expectation in order to receive the full benefit.
0:32:11 PA: Hey, listeners, just a brief, brief interruption. Quick to give you some news, some recent news from the psychedelic space, including two studies that have been published about MDMA. The first study showed that social anxiety in autistic adults was successfully treated with MDMA therapy. The first clinical trial on adults on the autism spectrum investigating MDMA or any psychedelic substance, for that matter, was published in psychopharmacology recent, and it looked at whether MDMA combined with psychotherapy could help with severe social anxiety that autistic adults commonly experience. And in this study, which included 12 participants, they were given either MDMA or placebo during two all-day therapy sessions with additional non-drug preparatory integrative therapy. And the main findings of this pilot showed that marked improvements in social anxiety and less avoidance of social interactions for the group that received MDMA. In fact, 91% of participants reported increased feelings of empathy and connectedness, and 86% experienced ease of communication during MDMA Ecstasy that persisted after use.
0:33:24 PA: So this is some really great initial research, again, only 12 participants here, but there’s gonna be a lot more where this comes from. The second study to look at is scientists gave MDMA to octopus which was really, really interesting, I actually first heard about this at the MAPS Conference in Pittsburgh about three months ago. And it showed that when scientists gave octopuses MDMA it helped the octopuses to lower their guard and become more sociable. Octopuses tend to be very, very isolated and only spend time by themselves, and because they’re under the influence of MDMA, where the brain releases serotonin, it helps them to connect with other octopuses. Kind of funny and interesting, but a little cool research to check out nonetheless. Now, besides that I wanted to share two other things that are going on with us.
0:34:15 PA: First, of all are our synthesis retreats in Amsterdam that we’re now doing on a monthly basis we have retreats planned through March in Amsterdam, you can find those at synthesisretreat.com if you find it through the podcast, please mention the third wave on your application form. The other thing to be aware of is, we are launching a new project called Three W nodes project. And we have our very first vet in New York City on the evening of October 23, with Dr. Will Siu who is a Harvard-trained psychiatrist, and has a clinic here in New York City, he is also on the MAPS phase 3 trials. Will and I will discuss microdosing, medicalization and the future of the mainstream when it comes psychedelic substances. That’s the evening on October 23 in New York City. You can find more details by going to our website to this podcast page in particular, they’ll be a link to it.
0:35:14 PA: Last thing to mention is we’re now in full fundraising mode for the third wave. We submitted our 1023 form to become a 501 [c]  and now, we need to raise money so we can continue to amplify our mission and the importance of psychedelic literacy in the main stream. So if that’s something you wanna support either privately with a larger donation, please reach out to me and our team to set that up as a possible discussion. We’ve already raised a significant amount of funding and we’re looking for other funders to come in who really support this mission. If you’re listening to the podcast and you just wanna pitch in a little, please check out our Patreon page at patreon.com/thethirdwave where you can donate on a monthly basis in exchange for a few cool gifts that we have. So without further ado, let’s go back to the podcast interview with Elizabeth Bast.
0:36:17 PA: What is the process that you work through with clients when they are looking at specifically the preparation elements?
0:36:23 EB: Sure.
0:36:24 PA: What are you focused on in that process?
0:36:27 EB: So, people reach out when they’re curious about the medicine or a medicine, Iboga or Ibogaine and also other kinds of medicine. And it could just be even considering, like is this right for me? And I don’t have a dogmatic answer, I don’t think it’s right for everyone. I help them to listen to their own soul and really ask the right questions to potential providers and look at their medicine sourcing and their facilitation and searching out reviews. Sometimes that’s a very tricky process especially when there is no centralized source for people to share their experiences with individual practitioners. So we look at all these different things and ask questions about their needs and their intentions, and sometimes there’s a lot of medical issues, and I am not a doctor, so I encourage them to reach out to the centers directly and communicate with their medical director. Hopefully, there is one [chuckle] And ask the right questions. And also looking at the specific certifications. It’s not enough to have a doctor, it’s not enough to have just a nurse, you need to have a medical provider at least with Iboga who is ACLS certified, which is advanced cardiac life support and who knows how to interpret test results, like EKG and liver and kidney tests for potential issues with the medicine specifically.
0:38:06 EB: So, we go through all of that and then the integration. And it’s great to have a plan, at least not to say it can’t change, but a plan of where are they gonna land after. For example, people who are working in addiction recovery, which I also help people a lot with, they won’t be served by going right back into a toxic environment. We have to look at where are you going back to? What’s your space gonna look like? How will you be spending your days? There’s what I call a golden window and many people call it the pink bubble or the golden window of Iboga and Ibogaine where you come out feeling on top of the world, and optimistic, and energized and the serotonin levels are really high, I’ve never experienced such a boost, such an anti-depressive effect from any medicine as Iboga initially. And so you come out feeling really great and the first thought for many people is… Oh, I’m great, I don’t need any integration I can do anything [chuckle] and keep going. When that is not so. This is a period of time when people are very neuro-plastic, very energized and it’s a time to make new routines, time to make changes, update relationships or leave toxic relationships, find a good environment. It’s a great time of change.
0:39:42 EB: To make new neural connections in the mind and get involved with new communities, exercise, diet might change, and people need a lot of help resourcing support systems during this time. And what can happen is the medicine starts to settle, the effects are not so dramatic, and then we better have those changes in place. It can be sometimes one, two, three months, six months, the longer periods of time will come when people keep themselves really clean, when they’re not drinking alcohol, when they’re not doing a ton of other medicines. This is challenging that Iboga really needs space to breathe, room to work. It’s a brain surgeon, it needs not a lot of other stuff in the field. I remember the moment when the medicine left my body, it was about six months after my first experience, I was in my backyard just being with nature, looking at the trees, listening to the birds, and I felt the spirit of the medicine, say, “Okay, I’m leaving your body now.” Like in a physical sense, it never leaves spiritually, but it was saying, “Okay I’m leaving your material, the metabolites and what have you are leaving the body, and now it’s time for you to feel your own strength. It’s time for you to feel the strength of your legs,” is what it said in metaphor. And I got that, like, “Okay,” the medicine doesn’t want us to rely on it like a crutch. The medicine in my experience would like us to become medicine, and it’s a very intense process every day.
0:41:34 PA: Everyday, yeah, and this is I think why it’s so imperative, like you were saying before, doing is important. And that’s what a lot of people are now doing in the psychedelic space, is building the cultural infrastructure to support that process, basically of what I see as integration. And in the way that you so beautifully described it, I hadn’t really thought of it from that context really before. But integration is really about entering that web of holistic wellness, and having access to not only the education and information, but also the financial resources to access that. And what I see a lot of the work in the psychedelic space doing, particularly with what MAPS is doing, is they’re really looking to increase the accessibility to that bubble of optimal wellness through taking a non-profit approach, because that will ideally reduce the costs for a lot of people. And this is largely what we’re building a new culture around, is like people being their best selves in a way, which is the very sort of corny way to say it, but it is this…
0:42:42 EB: It’s radical.
0:42:42 PA: Some people wanna flourish, some people really… We feel like we have the agency and the autonomy and the ability to become these Gods in a way, which is largely when we hear these concepts, you the define feminine, you define masculine that are coming back, gnosticism. It really seems to be we’re replacing… A lot of people are replacing the… Maybe the Christian God, ’cause Nietzsche talked about how God is dead, with a more of a way I am God, and then going forth from that perspective. I think that’s interesting as a concept, and also it’s borderline narcissistic at times.
0:43:27 EB: Well, we’re human beings, and we tend to look at everything to the… We make God in our own image really, and God is God no matter how we choose to think of God, God is still God, no matter what paradigm the human beings are coming up with, right? But when I hear you say that, we become Gods, that’s a powerful statement. And what I remember an elder saying is, “We are like God,” We hear this saying from Christianity, God has made us in God’s own image, and that is because we are creators, we are unique as these beautiful mutants, human beings, or we can choose to be the honeybee, or we can choose to be the locust, we can choose to be creators, we can choose to be destroyers, we can choose to live in poison or medicine. It’s fascinating, what an experiment, I’m sure it’s Saturday Night Live for God wherever God is watching us come into our divine selves. And you also touched on something about helping us to be our best selves, it’s radical, ’cause we’re coming out of a sick care system where everything is pathologized, even potential blessings that some people have who are on the spectrum, everything is… They want a medication for everything, they wanna pathologize everything as sick-care. Just starting to turn the corner into things like functional medicine, integrative medicine, skillful preventative medicine, but the well care of helping well people to thrive and be brighter and more well and stronger and clearer, wow! That’s radical.
0:45:23 EB: And that could challenge the capitalist system that thrives on selling people things in an attempt to fill the insatiable void, right? It’s gonna be a fascinating time. And I’m grateful to MAPS, I love MAPS, some people have different… Opinions about them really bringing the medicines into medical therapeutic context and all of the trials that they’re doing to get approval from the FDA and it’s clearly an essential part of bringing the medicine to more people who need it. People deserve to know their options. So many people still don’t know what Iboga or Ibogaine is or what Ayahuasca is, or mushrooms. And there’s… They deserve to know. There’s a lot of criticism of capitalism. There’s a lot of concern around how these medicines be appropriated. Of course, rightfully so. And I see us in a very long arc. Maybe not so long now. Ibogaine is gonna be heading into trials pretty soon. And there’s all these changes and it doesn’t look like Bwiti ceremony, okay? And that’s okay because the medicine is working. The medicine is starting to change a culture over time. It doesn’t happen over night and there are some people that will not feel comfortable walking into a Bwiti ceremony, that will feel comfortable walking into a medical situation with someone in a white coat.
0:47:02 EB: And who need to look at peer-reviewed articles in journals of these medical and research studies. Yes, they need all that. And all of this is important and I trust the movement of the medicine. I trust that the medicine is part of this co-created evolution of our society and what I ask those people who are sitting behind their computers, criticizing MAPS, thank you everyone for the love, of course that comes out fiery sometimes, but what are you doing to change? What are you doing to serve people? What alternatives are you providing? Who are you serving? How are you serving directly? Like helping to… For people to become aware of medicine, to become aware of… That’s part of informed consent for me. People need to know other options. So how are you helping? And that’s an important question. Directly, not just from criticizing, but what solutions are being provided with that criticism?
0:48:21 PA: Right. Because otherwise it’s just, it’s criticism with no grounding and not only should from my perspective, and this is just my perspective. Not only should, if you’re criticizing in a very public way. In a way that could potentially damage or harm. If you’re criticizing in that way, then you should have the integrity to be able to deliver, again this is from my perspective, deliver an alternative solution that is more viable. In other words, it’s built around good models of decision making. So that it would be more successful than the current approach. And for me, there’s been nothing on that front.
0:49:04 PA: It’s simply been addressing, these are systemic issues with our culture, and this is where they’re coinciding with the psychedelic renaissance. And this is how they could potentially, basically corporatize or take over or… All these ideologies, these really radical ideologies that people who have a lot of their world views rooted in the 60s and some of the counter culture values that [unclear speech] that. That to me is often, it’s very impractical because there’s no clear roadmap to actually creating a better system. It’s just, the current system sucks, fuck that, but that’s what they’re putting all their energy towards. It’s usually nothing constructive from my perspective, but again…
0:49:53 EB: Yeah and even if there’s a question around, well, I don’t know a good solution but I’m open to hearing about it. I still ask, “Okay well, how are you serving medicine in a direct way? That’s important to me. If you’re gonna criticize, how do we get our hands dirty and get out there and be serving human beings to be as well as they can be? That’s important. I feel a lot of love from MAPS. For me, it’s not just about the politics. There’s energetics there. I’m very sensitive and from all the people I know at MAPS, they are so driven by genuine love and devotion. I feel that from Rick, I feel that from everyone. I know a lot of people who work with MAPS and there’s so, so much love there and openness, and willingness to consider other viewpoints. It’s really fascinating. I like that. Yes. And this said about trusting the medicine, the medicine also wants us to trust ourselves.
0:51:09 EB: It’s a co-created evolution of our society. There’s also… Let’s acknowledge, there’s a dark side of psychedelics where people become very impressionable. Sometimes people have a provider that they will think is enlightened, because they have an enlightening experience in the moment when perhaps that provider is not enlightened. There are ways that these medicines can be used to take advantage of people and that’s our responsibility as human beings to help raise awareness, educate each other and it really comes down to looking at our intentions. Again, what is our intention with these medicines? What are the intentions of our providers? What is the code of ethics with our providers? How do we keep our providers accountable if they become tempted to abuse their power? Which I’ve seen that happen. And so let’s not go in blind. These are very powerful substances that can be used to oppress or to liberate and it’s up to us to decide.
0:52:20 EB: Go in with our eyes open and listen to the medicine. I love this woman Laura Dev who was speaking at a recent panel on diversity at CIIS diversity in psychedelics and gender issues, capitalism, these hot topics. And she was talking about inter-species communication and even just opening to the possibility that we are in a state of listening to the medicine as we listen to ourselves, that’s fascinating. How can we be an apprentice? It’s part of being an apprentice instead of just a consumer. Consumer, like taking a pill that the doctor told us to take or going to have this psychedelic therapy we’re told to go have. Let’s not just be a blind consumer, let’s be in dialogue.
0:53:10 PA: Yeah, let’s enter relationship, right?
0:53:12 EB: Yes that’s it. The medicine loves relationship, it loves to be held in relationship, it loves to be held in communities. And I see a lot of… Let me know about what you think about this, I’m seeing more adverse events and confusing difficult situations when people go to see an unknown provider that they don’t know anyone who’s worked with them, and they’re going all alone, you know what I mean? I’ve heard of more difficult situations coming out of that type of scenario versus going to see a provider that your five best friends have already seen and your five best friends are with you, community.
0:53:49 PA: And I think that’s why new projects in the field that are developing can be built or created to help support that process because it’s obviously easy to be the sixth friend but what if you’re the first friend and you don’t have any network and you don’t have any support, how do you make that commitment or that decision? That can be difficult to do because I can’t speak from experience on this, but I know and I’ve spoken to a lot of people who wanna start working with, even Ibogaine, specifically Ibogaine, and it’s a lot of, “No one else in my community really knows about this. Where do I start?” And I think that’s a big challenge right now. Both with Ibogaine but also with other plant medicines, 5-MeO-DMT is also for me at least something that comes with a lot of risk factors.
0:54:44 EB: It’s being over-consumed too which is dangerous.
0:54:46 PA: Right, and so building that network is critical to… So that people can find legitimate providers. What do you know about Ibogaine microdosing? Most of what I’ve heard about it is that people will often microdose after going through an initiation or larger ceremony as part of the integration process, which is something that we’ve written about. We just in fact published for all you listeners and also I think you would love… You might love to share this on your website or page, Elizabeth, but we just published a four-part series on psychedelics as treatments for addiction. It was published and written by Ben Taub who worked for the Beckley foundation, and is now working for an Ibogaine clinic in Spain. So I’d love to hear just a little bit more about that perspective.
0:55:36 EB: Sure, yeah, and I’d love to look at that. And then there’s the addiction recovery part of it, which is interesting, but thank you. Yes, microdosing is such a great topic, there’s many purposes for microdosing. Again, starting with intention, is it to be more productive? Is it to work out and get bigger muscles? Is it to heal trauma, overcome depression, be more adaptable, be more intuitive, be more connected to the ecosystem? There’s a lot of different purposes for microdosing and Ibogaine and Iboga are definitely, again, medically volatile, even in microdosing. And it’s not that it can’t be done, it can be a powerful way to work with the medicine and really listen to the medicine and learn in different ways. However, I would say my personal perspective is to go work with a very seasoned provider who is trusted, who you really know their sourcing like, “Where is the medicine coming from?” Ask that question. And there’s a lot of medicine out there on the dark web… People are like, “Oh, I’ll order it on the dark web.” And I say, “No, please don’t.”
0:56:55 EB: For many reasons. One is that lots of what has been sold on the web as Iboga has been found to be adulterated, or the wrong plant that is cardiotoxic, or a moldy or old or not strong enough to detox, lot of problems. For more information on all the dangers of mail order medicine, please visit my Iboga page. So for example, the providers that I know get their medicine from indigenous people that they are in real community with across the globe and it’s a beautiful relationship. So they’re getting ceremonially harvested medicine, sustainably harvested medicine where they take only what they need and leave the rest and it’s blessed every step of the way, even being made into TAs is blessed. So that’s very special medicine from old plants that are powerful and mature. These are like an old sage versus a young doctor. So where is the medicine coming from? And I’ve also heard of people having debilitating flood dose kind of experiences off of 50 milligrams of Ibogaine. And for me, that would be like a fifth of what would be a microdose, at times.
0:58:13 PA: A fifth of what would be a microdose or a macrodose?
0:58:17 EB: Micro.
0:58:18 PA: That’s a fifth of… What is a… What’s a microdose of Ibogaine?
0:58:22 EB: Okay, so… There’s different purposes. There is a helping out in ceremony dose, which is a strong microdose that would be about 250 milligrams for me, a lot more for Chor. But I’ve heard of a person having a full flood dose experience on 50 milligrams and that means being completely laid out, having shaking limbs, you could fall down, you could… You need somebody there. And very vulnerable emotionally, psychologically, spiritually, maybe purging sometimes there’s issues with purging. Aspiration is a risk. You need to know what you’re doing with microdosing and that means working with a seasoned provider who will tell you when you’re ready to microdose.
0:59:06 EB: And some people have this DIY ethic, great. And I’ve also seen really dangerous things happen and really dangerous things happen with mixing medicines. You have to know the contraindicated medications and medical conditions that could cause problems with that… Some of the cardiac issues with Ibogaine. So yeah, it starts with a relationship with a trusted provider and medicine from a trusted source. If it’s Ibogaine where does it come from? Who processes it? What is the purity? Has it been tested? These are all really important questions. So now on to the question. I interviewed Patrick Fishley which is the Medical Director at a Iboga Soul in Canada. Two short video interviews, they’re on my website, on my blog ebast.net and you can see what he has to say about it. He’s overseen over 700 treatments of Ibogaine and Iboga, never lost anybody and has really strong opinions on this matter. He’s one of the more experienced people I’ve ever talked to who have worked with these medicines so… Not impossible, be careful, talk to me. [chuckle]
1:00:22 EB: Talk to… Talk to you. I think that’s a…
1:00:25 EB: Yeah. I would be happy to speak to people and yeah, if people are having good DIY experiences, great. Not everybody will, and remember that. So if people are preaching DIY everything, remember that not everyone will have that experience.
1:00:41 PA: Right. Yeah, I think that’s really important to keep in mind. Well, Elizabeth I’ve had such a pleasure dropping in and chatting with you for the last hour and this has been a beautiful conversation that’s been both very, I think, helpful and informative, but also… Some of these stories that you told, and some of these concepts we were able to dig into were… I just… I had a really great time doing this, this interview the last hour. So thank you for your presence, and thank you for just your contributions. And I’d love if we could just end on a really great note by telling everyone, you’ve mentioned it a couple of times, but just a little bit more about where they can find more information about you… So your website…
1:01:31 EB: Sure.
1:01:31 PA: And any other resources you think would be great for them to…
1:01:34 EB: Absolutely. First, I just… Thank you so much, Paul, thank you for all the work you’re doing, it’s such a pleasure. And yeah, a few announcements, please do visit my site ebast.net. That’s E-B as in Boy A-S-T dot net. And there’s information there about the book and lots of information about Iboga and a great blog with articles and interviews with some people I really respect. Information about my current offerings and please do check out Chor’s website at chorboogie.com. And you can see some of his art work and it’s a fun game to see which pieces can you catch the Iboga in, really find the medicine in some of his work. He has phenomenal, phenomenal work.
1:02:31 EB: And stay tuned, get on our email list, and I will be speaking with him at Spirit Plant Medicine Conference in Canada, November second through fourth that’s this year, 2018. Very excited to be there, there’s an incredible line up. I’m so honored as a non-scientist, I’m just amazed that this happens. And I was invited to be there. I’m happy to share other ways of knowing and the love story and about how plant medicine has helped the evolution of our intimacy. And I wanna give a big shout out to Cosmic Sister and Zoe Helene who is a pioneer. They’re the reasons I was able to get there. They supported me in getting there. And this is… Cosmic Sister is a network of visionary women and coming from psychedelic feminism. And this is a beautiful convergence of eco-feminism and cognitive liberty and also they do a lot of beautiful raising of awareness, around safety for women in ceremonies. It’s a lot going on for women right now and a lot of challenges finding trusted providers. So see what they’re up to… Go visit… Google up Cosmic Sister and Zoe Helene, they do amazing media projects and really support strongly diversity in psychedelic medicine.
1:04:01 PA: Beautiful.
1:04:01 EB: So thank you so much.
1:04:02 PA: And we had Zoe on the show earlier so if our listeners want to they can also check out her podcast. And so, yeah…
1:04:10 EB: Oh yeah.
1:04:10 PA: Thank you again, Elizabeth for all your wisdom and contributions. And it was, like I said, just a pleasure to chat with you today.